However, the process of hurricane development is very different. Irma, or any other tropical systems don’t “suck” water up from the ocean. The moisture in a tropical system is generated purely through evaporation. During the evaporation process salt water would turn into water vapor, which is a gas. The salt would thus be left behind in the ocean.
It’s true that the moisture from tropical storms and hurricanes comes from the oceans (when they are over oceans), but the water from their rainfall is fresh, as it is from all weather systems. This is so because only water evaporates from the oceans — pure water and nothing else. Salt and other impurities do not evaporate.
You may be thinking “Do hurricanes rain salt water?”
Dear Marilyn, It is not salty; rainwater is always salt-free. Hurricanes derive their energy primarily from the heat of ocean water (at a temperature generally at or above 80 degrees).
The clouds that make up a hurricane are made up of water evaporating from the ocean and land below. Salt, normally a solid, doesn’t evaporate with the water and is left behind. So, clouds and the resulting rain don’t contain salt either.
Let’s start with the topic of the rain being salt water and being “sucked” up from the storm. Tornadoes would have the capability to pick up say some salt water and deposit over land. However, the process of hurricane development is very different.
Where does the water in a hurricane come from?
As Christopher writes, the water that comes down as rain in a hurricane or any other precipitation, is water that evaporated from the sea, then condensed by the adiabatic effect of a lesser pressure aloft as it rose. The only way you can have “salty rain” is when directly under,.
What makes a hurricane a hurricane?
When a storm churns across the ocean, the warm surface waters provide additional moisture and can fuel the storm into a hurricane. As the hurricane grows larger and more potent, it can generate waves as high as 18.3 meters, tossing and mixing warmer surface waters with the colder, saltier water below.
How does it rain in a hurricane?
When hurricanes are at sea, the high winds whip the waves into a fine spray, and some of that salty spray mixes with the low level clouds. Hurricanes contain water spouts or tornadoes, which can suck up sea water into the sky. Then this sea-water mixes with the rain, and falls to earth mixed with the hurricane’s otherwise pure water rain.
Can a tornado or hurricane pick up water from the ocean?
Tornadoes would have the capability to pick up say some salt water and deposit over land. However, the process of hurricane development is very different. Irma, or any other tropical systems don’t “suck” water up from the ocean.
This of course begs the inquiry “What happens to the ocean when a hurricane hits?”
One way to think about this is when a hurricane comes by, it mixes everything up, resulting in a muddled and more homogeneous upper ocean. That means the surface water is cooler and saltier than it was previously was, and deeper water is warmer and less salty than it previously was.
Why is storm surge salty but rain is not?
The storm surge is salty. The rain is not. Indeed – although some may make it into the atmosphere…evaporation would leave it pretty much in the ocean. @Nullo Acid rain is caused by the rain (fresh water) picking up nitrogen and sulfur oxides present in the atmosphere as it falls to earth.